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How to write a Fairfax/ABC op-ed about Aboriginal issues.

(Note these policies apply uniformly to both Fairfax and the ABC).

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the big time, with the opportunity to have your very own by-lined opinion piece in the ABC or Fairfax website or newspapers concerning indigenous issues.  However, there are strict rules and protocols in place that must be respected at all times. If you want to be a trusted Fairfax/ABC insider, you must follow them:

Start with an emotive frame

Always hammer home rich uncaring whites with the reality of aboriginal deprivation. Something like this “It is only 1000km as the crow flies from the lattes at Pyrmont’s Café Ready to the outback humpy of Dungerin, but the differences couldn’t be more stark.  As the local women wipe flies from their outback cakes, they seem so far away from the quinoa biscuits that you can get at Paddy’s market on Sundays, across from ABC headquarters at Ultimo.”

While you are doing this, remember to omit any confounding factors. Do not mention that the aboriginal women have been to Sydney, and don’t like it; and in fact don’t agree with whites that inner city living is the ultimate aspiration. That they are in fact about to meet a busload of whites who want to learn about local culture (and the “outback cakes” have been devised to please them). Do not mention anything practical, just frame the disadvantage in the worst possible way.

Remember, at all times, that your readers don’t really want the problems fixed. They like reading horror stories about disadvantage, so they can feel disgust at the racism of others, with a warm pleasant glow of moral superiority, all at the same time.  This is why SBS made up fake racist ‘official’ certificates a few years ago to titillate (and secretly please-through-disgust) its virtue signalling audience.  Get into it/exploit it! Dredge up the worst issues of the past (don’t mention many whites were mistreated then too) and imply they are still occurring today.  Project a evil white landowner, noble black scenario! The readers will lap it up!  They also really like exoticism, so set up pictures of things they don’t actually do anymore, like wear traditional costumes or eat native food.

On this topic, never, ever, point out the contradiction of people living in hyper-remote traditional lands, yet demanding working modern infrastructure like airconditioning, despite the exponential cost of delivering it in these locations. Or the awkward fact that most indigenous Australians live in the big cities (these stories don’t have good enough visuals to make the weekend supplements, unfortunately).

Accept the demands of aboriginal bureaucrats unconditionally.  Whenever they demand more self determination, don’t mention ATSIC or its endemic corruption problems.  Never point out there may be financial motives to various apologies demanded, then given, then a further demand for constitutional recognition, along with assorted commissioners, board positions and funding. Also never point out the 1967 referendum actually involved the expansion of a racist power. 

And never mention, of course, that the endless cycle of demanded apologies, more funding etc etc has no practical end to it, nor will it ever have.  The concessions never lead to any sort of thank you or end point, they are soon forgotten waymarkers on the race to expand the complaint industry and aboriginal bureaucracy.

If you must focus on practical solutions, make sure to focus on simplistic feelgood ideas that chime with your readers obsessions.  Talk about how aboriginals are being trained to fix bicycles in the desert (despite the fact this a completely impractical and largely useless scheme that involves flying mechanics and parts in an out for no real sustainable benefit), as many of your readers ride their bikes in the inner city and see them as a panacea to most modern industrial problems.  Definitely don’t talk about how aboriginals truly value their four wheel drives, (you’ll annoy all your readers then).

It is also completely and utterly racist to point out that many people who benefit from aboriginal positions or graduate positions are, (awkwardly), white. Apparently when money or positions are given out on the basis of race, there must be no discussion of race. This is an entirely consistent and logical position and must not be questioned.

Anyway, congratulations! You are well on the way to writing an affecting, guilt-inducing-but-also-pleasing-at-the-same-time piece for your readers.  Maybe you are ready now for your next challenge- writing about the romantic frustrations of young wealthy attractive women (and how its all men’s fault (for not being in the top 20% of attractiveness!).   A career of ABC/Fairfax smugness awaits you!

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